A primer to vascular anatomy of the brain: an overview on anterior compartment.

Publication/Presentation Date



PURPOSE: Knowledge of neurovascular anatomy is vital for neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuro-radiologists and anatomy students, amongst others, to fully comprehend the brain's anatomy with utmost depth. This paper aims to enhance the foundational knowledge of novice physicians in this area.

METHOD: A comprehensive literature review was carried out by searching the PubMed and Google Scholar databases using primary keywords related to brain vasculature, without date restrictions. The identified literature was meticulously examined and scrutinized. In the process of screening pertinent papers, further articles and book chapters were obtained through analysis and additional assessing of the reference lists. Additionally, four formalin-fixed, color latex-injected cadaveric specimens preserved in 70% ethanol solution were dissected under surgical microscope (Leica Microsystems Inc, 1700 Leider Ln, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089 USA). Using microneurosurgical as well as standard instruments, and a high-speed surgical drill (Stryker Instruments 1941 Stryker Way Portage, MI 49002 USA). Ulterior anatomical dissection was documented in microscopic images.

RESULTS: Encephalic circulation functions as a complex network of intertwined vessels. The Internal Carotid Arteries (ICAs) and the Vertebral Arteries (VAs), form the anterior and posterior arterial circulations, respectively. This work provides a detailed exploration of the neurovascular anatomy of the anterior circulation and its key structures, such as the Anterior Cerebral Artery (ACA) and the Middle Cerebral Artery (MCA). Embryology is also briefly covered, offering insights into the early development of the vascular structures of the central nervous system. Cerebral venous system was detailed, highlighting the major veins and tributaries involved in the drainage of blood from the intracranial compartment, with a focus on the role of the Internal Jugular Veins (IJVs) as the primary, although not exclusive, deoxygenated blood outflow pathway.

CONCLUSION: This work serves as initial guide, providing essential knowledge on neurovascular anatomy, hoping to reduce the initial impact when tackling the subject, albeit the intricate vasculature of the brain will necessitate further efforts to be conquered, that being crucial for neurosurgical and neurology related practice and clinical decision-making.





First Page


Last Page





Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

Document Type